FUKUDA, NOBUSUKE ?NOB? was born on 11 May 1933 in San Francisco. His parents were the late Yoshiaki & Shinko Fukuda, founders of the Konko Church of San Francisco. Nob is survived by his wife, Fumi, daughter Tracey, son Steven, and three grandchildren, Nicholas, Emma & Bryce. His siblings are Saburo, Hiroshi & Koichi and his deceased siblings are Michisuke, Yoshiro & Makiko.
Nob lived almost his entire life in San Francisco. The first time Nob was forced to leave the city was during WWII when Nob was incarcerated at the age 9, along with his family and all other Japanese Americans living on the West Coast. He was incarcerated first in Utah and then in Texas. After the war, Nob & his family narrowly escaped deportation back to Japan. Instead the family returned to San Francisco. After the war, Nob and his family fully re-engaged in community life. Nob became a member of the Barons, a social and recreational organization comprised of neighborhood Japanese American boys returned home from the camps ? it was a joyful affiliation that would last a lifetime. After the war, Nob’s father, the Reverend Yoshiaki Fukuda, resurrected the Boy Scout Troop & Pack 58 at the Konko Church, and Nob would become a lifelong Boy Scout leader receiving a Wood Chuck badge and a Silver Beaver award for his long dedication and service to the Boy Scouts.
Nob received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work from U.C. Berkeley where he was a Cal Loyal alumnus. Coming from a Konko minister’s family of 8 children, there was not enough money for College. The church congregation helped to pay for Nob’s degree. Nob was uprooted from San Francisco for a second time when he was drafted into the army at age 21. Nob was stationed at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. Nob often spoke of his Arkansas days ? living in the Deep South, one of only 2 Asians on the entire base, no white rice. In his isolation he became a writer ? writing many letters home to San Francisco. And he began listening to jazz albums ? the mournful intonations of June Christy & Chet Baker ? the happy syncopations of Cal Tjader.
Nob spent his career as a Social Worker in the City & County of San Francisco. Nob spent 30 years working first in Juvenile Probation and then in Child Welfare. Child welfare was a fitting career for Nob who knew childhood could be a precarious time. Nob grew up in a traditional Japanese family. He was born the second son in a family where the eldest first son was omnipotent & omnipresent, and where his father was larger than life and a disciplinarian. Nob’s childhood as #2 son, was set against the harsher backdrop of the Great Depression and WWII. Nob was a child of the deprivations of the Great Depression, the child of a church family who struggled to get by on meals of fish-head soup, and also the child who saw his younger brother die tragically in Internment Camp. Nob knew it was important for the youngest and most vulnerable citizens of San Francisco to have an advocate. From Black Adoption Fairs, to Runaway outreach on Larkin Street, to home visits, to Foster child placement, to Home childcare certification, he did it all in his 30-year career.
Nob was a stalwart in the Japanese community. In addition to the Boy Scouts, Nob served as Assistant to the Minister for the Konko Church of San Francisco. He was a three-term president of the Japanese Cultural & Community Center during its beginning formative years. He was active with the Japanese American Democratic Club. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Local 400, SEIU, Municipal Employees of San Francisco when it held its first city wide strike in 1974. He was an active outdoor person going on hikes, camping and backpacking and led the Troop 58 Scouts on many weekly backpacking and camping trips. He made 3 attempts on Mount Whitney ? succeeding on the first attempt. Though he failed on his final 2 attempts to climb Mount Whitney, he was satisfied that he had inspired his son Steven and a second generation of Fukudas to reach the summit of Mount Whitney. He enjoyed traveling thru out the United States and internationally often with his wife Fumi with Elderhostel and making 10 trips to Japan. Exercising was a main hobby and belonged to the Richmond YMCA for 20 years. Jogging around the Presidio was key to his exercise formula which later on became walks to Mountain Lake and the Legion of Honor.
The two most satisfying events of his life was helping to found the Japanese Bilingual & Bicultural Program in the San Francisco Unified School District and in coaching the San Francisco Associates AA basketball team which defeated the Los Angeles San Kwo Low Lords for the Japanese American California state championship award at Kezar stadium in 1961 by the score of 74 – 72.
Solidarity. Solidarity is the rallying cry that punctuates the storied annals of Nob’s life history. It was solidarity, as opposed to self-interest, that informed Nob’s life. He was a Social Worker, a Community Activist, and a Scout Master ? constantly sacrificing self-interests for the greater good. Solidarity is the message and the legacy Nob leaves to present and future generations. Solidarity forever.
Nob Fukuda died on Tuesday, October 5th, at 7:21 am, surrounded by his family. Private funeral service to be held October, 2021. Community memorial to be held Spring 2022.